I remember Carol at May Dreams Garden saying last month that she wondered just what people would have blooming in October and that there would probably be less. I would have said the same thing, but here it is October 16th and there's still plenty that's blooming!
Granted, we have had some late warm weather and we've yet to have our first frost. But plants take their cues from things other than the daytime temperatures. Amount of rainfall and length of days also affect their longevity and peak performance.
We've been very faithful about watering for this entire dry summer. I've told several people that I felt like I was walking around the yard with a tail attached (the hose). But of course there's no substitute for rain, and we got some today.
I remember two years ago, autumn was much like this. I don't think we got our first frost until well into November. The reason I remember is because I'd placed a late order with Big Dipper Farm and I spoke with Deirdre there about how late I could plant and still have things survive the winter. Our frost date was well past what she recommended and what I ordered did well.
But with nearly all my tender bulbs out of the ground and safely tucked away in the cool of the basement, I'm not worrying about frost. I'm just enjoying the colorful blooms and we've got lots of them!
The Calendula has bloomed non-stop since mid-summer and is still going, as long as I deadhead faithfully. But now I'm letting some blooms go to seed so I can collect them for next year. I grew this summer's plants from seed I saved from last year's. The blooms are a varied mix of yellows and oranges.
This Celosia is an annual that performed very well for me this summer. The blooms are much smaller at this time of year than in summer, but it still reminds me of cotton candy.
Coreopsis 'Sweet Dreams' is also new to the garden this fall. I planted it with its cousin, 'American Dreams.' I thought they'd look nice together.
The Peacock Orchids surprised me and decided to bloom! This is very late for them and not all of them will produce flowers before frost. I'm glad they bloomed, not only for the beautiful flowers, but for their scent, which is absolutely heavenly and quite strong. They are a tender bulb and I'll bring these in soon.
Notable is that these used to be named Acidanthera, which is what I learned to call them, but they are now known as Gladiolus callianthus.
I think I've figured out what this is - Viscaria (Agrostemma coeli-rosa). I planted this annual from seed this spring by direct sowing. Shortly after I sowed it, we got a drenching rain and all the seeds must have been washed to one side of the brick square, because they're all growing on the downside of one-quarter of the square. They are supposed to self-seed and I hope they do. I really like these. If I'm incorrect about the identification, please let me know!
The Cosmos 'Bright Lights' is still blooming, but I'm letting it go to seed now so I can save them for next year. The plants don't look very good now, so they're close to being yanked, as soon as I get as much seed as I want.
The Crocosmia was especially nice this year. I planted these bulbs in the spring, next to the 'Lucifer' I planted last year. 'Lucifer' didn't come back, or at least I don't think so. The reason I question it is because many more plants came up than I planted this spring, but ALL of them were this color, a light orange, which is the color of the ones I planted this spring. It's a mystery . . .
The Hardy Cyclamen made its appearance a couple of weeks ago. I always think it's not going to come up, but it does. It's difficult for me to get a really good picture of the light lavender blooms because it's in heavy shade and it has such dark foliage. The camera balks at that and they're always overexposed. I could mess with the settings on the camera to compensate but I haven't attempted that yet.
This Dahlia 'Star Elite' is the only one still in the garden. I dug the rest a couple of weeks ago and I was so disappointed. Only 'Hawaii' had tubers good enough to keep for next year. 'Who Dun It', which I loved and was new this summer, had only hollow tubers. How the thing was still green at that point is beyond me, but I'm not happy that I didn't have anything to save for planting next year.
I got this Doublefile Viburnum at the end of the season last fall at Meijer for five dollars. It's not large, but it gives us some pretty lacecap blooms.
The Daylily 'Razzmatazz' has bloomed off and on all summer into fall. It gets the prize for being the latest to bloom this year.
I love this Dianthus. It has bloomed non-stop and has also reseeded around itself. It's taller than the red ones I've got and is in varying shades of pink and white.
The Echinacea 'Pink Double Delight' that I bought in Columbus last month is still putting out new blooms.
The Spiderwort (Tradescantia sp.) actually looks better right now than it has all summer. I cut it down about halfway in mid-summer and it came back lovely as ever.
The Helenium is winding down, after putting on a fabulous show in the latter part of the summer and early fall.
After having some potted Lobelia reseed in the cracks of the patio last year, I decided to purposely sow some this year. 'Crystal Palace' is a very deep, intense shade of indigo that's difficult to capture in a photograph, but this is close. It's so intense it nearly hurts your eyes to look at it.
Rudbeckia 'Prairie Sun' was also planted by seed and is sure glowing now!
Veronica spicata 'Icicle' has frilly blooms and I need more of this one.
Another grown-from-seed annual that's doing a nice job right now is Petunia 'Aladdin Nautical Mix'. It's not exactly what Park Seed has pictured, and I won't grow this one again, but it's nice to know that the 50 seeds I received turned into something. (Do you know what 50 petunia seeds looks like??? Nearly nothing.)
Now this was a surprise! Earlier in the spring, I had purchased a pot of Tall Bearded Iris 'Immortality' at Kircher's in Defiance and it was so jam-packed in the pot that I had to cut the pot away to get it out of there. I imagine this iris had been around for a few years and no one had divided it. Of course, I snatched it right up. It wasn't blooming when I bought it and it never bloomed all summer after I divided it and planted the divisions. But it showed its gratitude to me for taking it home and liberating it by blooming now. I thought it was odd, but I found out that 'Immortality' is known for reblooming reliably in the fall.
Clematis 'Niobe' has had a few blooms in the past couple of weeks, as has 'Jackmanii'.
Geranium 'Striatum' and an unnamed magenta one have sparse blooms.
Zinnia 'Zowie Yellow Flame' has made a believer out of me. Earlier this summer, I had said I wasn't all that impressed with it. I take it all back. Far fewer problems with mildew, extremely long-lasting blooms, and overall lushness have made this a winner in my garden. It is very deserving of its designation as a 2006 All-America Selection.
The Delphinium 'Magic Fountain Mix' has bloomed continually all summer, too. I like that in a delphinium, because I've previously not had great luck with them.
The English Rose 'Glamis Castle' is just loaded with blooms again.
Honeysuckle 'Dropmore Scarlet' is vining up the arbor at the entrance to Max's Garden and I'm sure next summer it will cover it. The hummingbirds absolutely loved this! I think they've taken off for points south, because we haven't seen one for a couple of weeks now and prior to that you could count on seeing one or two every time you were near this.
Endless Summer® Hydrangea 'Blushing Bride' has been a strong bloomer. Actually, most of the hydrangeas still have blooms on them, but this one and Forever and Ever® 'Double Pink' look the best right now.
Knautia macedonica 'Mars Midget' underwhelms me. Maybe if it ever spreads/multiplies, I might like it better.
My three oldest roses are in bloom and looking very good:
Other roses blooming are 'Topsy-Turvy', all the miniature ones, 'Disneyland', some yellow shrub roses, the pink 'Nearly Wild', 'About Face' and 'Chihuly'.
The Cinnamon Basil is a robust plant and everbloomer. I love the dark foliage.
One of the Angel's Trumpets (Brugmansia) that's blooming now is 'Milk and Honey'. I really love this one, because the bloom starts out pure white and then as it ages and opens wide, it turns a gorgeous shade of peach. And it smells soapy clean just like the other ones.
The native orchid, Nodding Ladies' Tresses (Spiranthes cernua), that I bought in Columbus while attending the Master Gardener Conference in September with Mom, has started blooming. It is taking a very long time for it to come into full bloom. I don't know if you can see this very well in the picture, but it blooms in a spiral from the bottom up. Very cool.
Those silly tomatoes, 'Mr. Stripey', are looking better now than they have all summer. Still putting out blooms and now we've got some ripening large tomatoes. I'm not enthralled with this variety, either with production or unique appearance (which is the only reason I grew this one this year anyway).
Bluestone Perennials predicted last year that Sedum 'Autumn Fire' could replace 'Autumn Joy' as the most popular sedum. I don't think it's happened yet, but I like it better.
Purple Hyacinth Bean Vine
Morning Glory 'Chocolate'
Echinacea 'Ruby Star'
Sedum 'Autumn Joy'
Tricyrtis (Toad Lily)